Inside Lines: Edwards turns down top Olympic boxing job after US coaches object

 

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The Independent Online

Terry Edwards, who guided Britain's amateur boxers to their best Olympics for over 50 years in Beijing, has turned down an offer to take over the United States squad for the London Games.

The 68-year-old former London cabbie had been formal negotiations with the US Amateur Boxing Association and I understand he was due to be named as their head coach this week. But such was the hostile reaction among other US coaches to the prospect of the appointment of a foreigner, protesting that no other candidates were considered, that Edwards has now decided against it.

He told The Independent on Sunday: "To say I was flattered is an understatement as this is probably the top job in world amateur boxing. But to do it properly I would have needed the full support of the American coaches and I really don't want to get into political hassles at this stage of my life. Also, my family weren't that keen on me being away from home for the next few months and it would have meant giving up my present role with London 2012, which I am enjoying."

Edwards is currently putting the Olympic boxing tournament together as technical operations manager. He was made an MBE after Beijing but controversially axed by the newly formed British Amateur Boxing Association despite GB winning three medals, including James DeGale's gold. During his tenure Audley Harrrison also won Olympic gold, Amir Khan silver and Frankie Gavin became Britain's only world amateur champion.

Before his appointment with Locog, Edwards had been a consultant to both the Ghanaian and US amateur boxing bodies. The approach to take charge of the American team followed the dismissal of Joe Zanders and an acrimonious split with top pro-trainer Freddie Roach, who had been a brought in as an adviser. US amateur boxing is seriously under-achieving, with only one Olympic gold in the last three Games.

Not Keen to back pedal

We know Britain is far less chauvinistic than the US when it comes to enlisting overseas aid, either as coaches or potential Olympic medallists. So it is no surprise that UK Sport say they will be launching a "gobal" search for a successor to Peter Keen who has decided to stand down from his full-time role as the government agency's performance director despite the London Games being imminent.

The popular Keen, credited with assembling the high performance strategy which has led to so much British success in Olympic sport, is to become a part-time special adviser. He said he wishes to focus his energy in other directions. "My legs are tired. It's about getting back to where I came from, a bit more active duty."

Interestingly Keen came from British Cycling, where he was the performance director before Dave Brailsford. As Brailsford says he wants to spend more time directing the Sky pro road racing team after the Games, could this mean a return to his sporting alma mater for Keen?

"Absolutely not," he insists. "I've been there and done that." So, no back-pedalling.

Appealing thought for Chisora

Dereck Chisora's appeal against his indefinite ban by the British Boxing Board of Control will be heard by a panel largely composed of QCs who may take a more pragmatic view of his misdemeanours and put a time limit on the suspension. That is the hope of the heavyweight's promoter, Frank Warren, who says the earlier hearing was "more like a lynching".

Chisora's own brief, Jonathan Crystal, will also want to question the Board chairman, Charles Giles, who was a witness to the unseemly events in Munich but oddly absent from the recent inquiry. The Board say Giles was "unavailable" but Warren alleges he was in the building but left by a back door before the inquiry began.

Warren wants Chisora and David Haye to sort it out in the ring, a match that would make a lot of money – not least in fees for the Board.

insideline@independent.co.uk

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